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Bakken Shale

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Bakken Shale Accidents & Injuries

Leading Oilfield Accident Lawyers with Billions in Recoveries

The Bakken Shale, also known as the Bakken Formation, is located in western North Dakota and is one of the most active oil fields in the U.S. At 200,000 square miles in underlying parts of North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, it is the second-largest shale play. At its peak, there have been almost 200 active oil rigs pumping out over one million barrels a day on the shale. Drilling in the Bakken Shale has caused a massive economic boom to these areas, with the North Dakota portion alone producing over 800,000 barrels of oil per day for 2013. Estimates for how much oil the shale holds range from 7 to 24 billion barrels.

Workers flock across North Dakota and neighboring states for the opportunity to work on an active rig. The work is challenging, and the winters can bring temperatures below zero, but wages are high. Blue-collar workers can make six figures a year. Wages are high not just because the work is difficult, but because it is also one of the most dangerous professions in the country. Drilling for oil involves many separate processes and steps, and if a worker handles even a single step improperly or takes shortcuts, the results can be catastrophic.

If you were injured in any type of oilfield accident while working the Bakken Shale, call our attorneys at (888) 493-1629. Your consultation is free and private!

Bakken Shale Oil Production

An analyst for global energy research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie claims that oil producers could potentially gather up to 21 billion barrels of crude oil from the Williston Basic region of the north-central state. The estimate is almost three times more than the government's estimates of just 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Those estimates were released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which extended the bad news to California oil producers, which were estimated a recovery of just 600 million barrels from the Monterey Shale formation extending from Sacramento to Los Angeles.

The estimated growth in production comes as good news, as estimated costs of production continue to rise. With the release of new technology, Wood Mackenzie analysts believe North Dakota could even exceed this new estimation, digging deeper with a process called down-spacing. This process would involve wells that are dug closer together to target deeper reservoirs. So far, spending on the Bakken shale has reached $15 billion, but producers are confident in the continued provision of the shale, which has made North Dakota the second-biggest oil-producing state in the nation, with Texas claiming first place.

Top Dangers on Bakken Shale Oil Rigs

Oil rigs have dangers at every turn. The top risks for rig workers include:

Bakken Shale Accidents

As production on the Bakken shale has increased, so have the number of injuries and fatalities. In 2010, there were three oil rig fatalities in the entire state. That number grew to 5 in 2011 and 14 in 2012. The 20 rig fatalities in 2013 were the most the state had ever experienced. Injuries suffered on oil rigs in 2013 were also an all-time high. The 3,200 reported injuries that year were nearly 5 times the 700 injuries reported just 4 years prior.

With over 8,000 active wells in the United States, thousands of workers face perils every day on and off the worksite. Common causes of accidents on the Bakken Shale and other oilfields can involve blowouts, defective equipment, vehicle collisions, and the failure of the employer to meet safety standards. Accidents can even happen when transporting the crude by rail or another method, all of which can put workers in danger.

Injuries suffered can include:

  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Back injuries
  • Dismemberment
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Brain and spine injuries

Moreover, injuries are not limited to workers. Visitors to the job site, contractors, and even the general public can be put in danger by negligent practices and failure to meet job safety standards. As an example, last year an oil train derailed and exploded into a fire that burned for 36 hours. The accident killed 47 people, destroyed 40 buildings, and injured many others. Witnesses described the crash as a "wall of fire," and safety concerns still surround the rails used to transport oil.

Talk to Our North Dakota Shale Accident Lawyers

Workers who are injured on an oil rig should consider consulting with an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible after being hurt. Even injuries that may seem minor at first can end up causing long-term health problems requiring tens of thousands of dollars in medical treatment. By consulting with an injury lawyer that has experience with oil rig accidents, you can be confident knowing that your legal rights are being fully protected. At Arnold & Itkin, we have won oil rig injury cases all across the country, including North Dakota. Our firm represented more crewmembers of the Deepwater Horizon than any other firm in the country. There is no oil rig accident that is too big for our skilled team of injury lawyers to litigate.

If you or someone you know was injured in a Bakken Shale oilfield accident by the negligence of an oil or gas company, contact Arnold & Itkin to obtain free legal representation. There is no cost to you unless we win your case.

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  • $8 Billion Top 3 Largest Jury Verdict in U.S. History Arnold & Itkin LLP tried a Risperdal case against Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn about one of the drug’s most damaging side effects: gynecomastia. Our skill, hard work, and dedication resulted in the third-largest jury verdict ever obtained ...
  • $357 Million Largest Workplace Accident Settlement in Texas history Arnold & Itkin LLP secured a massive nine-figure settlement against a transnational corporation for a workplace incident. The settlement set a Texas record for being the largest personal injury settlement in the state’s history.
  • $222 Million Record-Breaking Verdict for Widow Our firm won $222 million for a woman who lost her husband in an industrial accident caused by a faulty valve. We took the case to trial because the at-fault company refused to take responsibility. The jury saw through the corporate lies and double ...
  • $205 Million Confidential Settlement Obtained for Numerous Clients Arnold & Itkin reached a record $205,000,000 settlement on behalf of clients after several years of hard-fought litigation. The case settled just before trial was set to begin.
  • $193 Million Settlement Won for Victims of Pipeline Explosion Offshore injury lawyers at Arnold & Itkin fought for two workers who were injured in a pipeline explosion at sea, one of whom passed away. Our relentless investigation and advocacy resulted in a nine-figure settlement that will provide for our ...
  • $171 Million One of the Largest Confidential Settlements in History Arnold & Itkin worked over the course of several years to represent clients in a case that many other law firms turned down. In the end, we were able to obtain a record-setting confidential settlement.
  • $139 Million Massive Settlement Achieved for Victims of an Oilfield Incident Arnold & Itkin LLP negotiated a huge $139,000,000 settlement for injured families affected by an oilfield incident in the eastern United States, settling one week before trial.
  • $125 Million Settlement Won for Widow of Dredge Worker Offshore lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP won a nine-figure settlement for a woman who lost her husband in a pipeline explosion. By pushing the case toward trial, our firm pressured the defendant into settling with our client, allowing her to rebuild ...
  • $117 Million Largest Single-Event Personal Injury Verdict in Louisiana History Arnold & Itkin represented a pregnant woman who experienced stomach pain and called Acadian Ambulance. The driver of the ambulance drove the ambulance into the back of a sugar cane truck causing the plaintiff's spine to be severed at T4 and for her ...
  • $116 Million Confidential Settlement Arnold & Itkin LLP negotiated a massive nine figure settlement on behalf of their clients after several years of hard fought litigation.
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